Some accidents on the roadway are just that, a tragic accident. But when a survivor of the crash is accused of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or causing the accident by driving recklessly, the law is unforgiving.
If you caused an accident in which someone was killed, you could be charged with negligent vehicle homicide if you were doing any of the following:
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- DUI / DWI
The authorities take fatal accidents seriously. You certainly did not intend to harm anyone – and may even be surprised to face criminal charges – but you can even be charged with negligent vehicle homicide for falling asleep behind the wheel.
Attorney for Vehicular Manslaughter Crimes in Baltimore, MD
I’ve been practicing criminal law long enough to know that every case is different. Every person is different, too, and just because you’ve been involved in a serious accident does not mean that you are a criminal. It certainly does not mean that the authorities are justified in bringing felony murder charges against you.
Drinking, prescription drugs, texting, exhaustion – all of these things can be used against you after a serious fatal car accident – even if you’d only had one drink or you were taking medication for health reasons. I am available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For a free consultation call 443-709-9999 today.
Vehicular Homicide by Grossly Negligent Driving
If you were charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law I § 2-209 (2012), then the elements of vehicular manslaughter by grossly negligent driving requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt of the following elements:
- that the defendant drove a motor vehicle;
- that the defendant drove in a grossly negligent manner, and
- that this grossly negligent driving caused the death of the victim.
A driver’s conduct is grossly negligent if he or she drives a motor vehicle in a way that creates a high degree of risk to, and shows a reckless disregard for, human life, and the driver is either aware that his or her driving has created that risk or, as a result of self-induced intoxication, is unaware that his or her driving has created that risk.
Vehicular Homicide by Criminal Negligence
If you were charged with criminally negligent manslaughter under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law I § 2-210, then keep in mind that the State is not required to prove that the defendant intended to harm the victim in any way. The elements of manslaughter in a motor vehicle by criminally negligent, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:
- that the defendant drove a motor vehicle;
- that the defendant drove in a criminally negligent manner; and
- that this criminally negligent driving caused the death of the victim.
The term “criminally negligent” is defined to mean that the defendant should have been aware but failed to perceive that his or her manner of driving created a substantial and unjustifiable risk to human life. This failure to perceive the risks must have been a gross departure from the conduct of a reasonable person under similar circumstances. Simple carelessness is insufficient to establish defendant’s guilt.
By creating Section 2-210(b), a new offense regarding death based on “criminal negligence,” the Legislature in Maryland established a distinct offense with a lesser degree of culpability.
For this offense, the focus is more on the behavior of the driver than the driving itself. In order to convict, the prosecutor must show that the defendant should have been aware, but failed to perceive that his or her conduct created a “substantial and unjustifiable risk” to human life and that this failure to perceive such a risk was a “gross deviation” from the standard of care exercised by an ordinary person. See, 96 Op. Atty Gen. 128 (Dec. 21, 2011).
These cases focus on whether the driver’s conduct created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of death and the failure to perceive this risk was a gross deviation from the standard of care that would be exercised by a reasonable person.
Attorney for Vehicular Manslaughter in Baltimore, MD
As an experienced criminal defense attorney focused on DUI / DWI, life-threatening injury, negligently causing homicide and vehicular homicide cases, I know what’s at stake. These cases are extremely complicated.
Vehicular homicide cases often involve testimony about testing for the presence of alcohol or drugs in the breath or blood, field sobriety testing, and accident reconstruction.
Call James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates at 443-709-9999 today to discuss your case.